Former Forsyth Co. music teacher takes stand, denies kissing student

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Winston Harvey Stephens Jr.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Former East Forsyth High School music teacher Winston H. Stephens Jr. took the stand Friday in his trial on three counts of taking indecent liberties with a student, and denied that he ever kissed his accuser or performed any acts of a sexual nature with him.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Stephens, 61, said he and the student had developed a close relationship over the summer of 2011, when Stephens was directing a demanding musical for a summer enrichment program and the student had stepped in to turn pages for Stephens as he played during rehearsals.

Stephens said he drove the student to and from the summer sessions at Reynolds High School, and during those drives learned that the student missed his father, who was no longer living with the student’s mother, and that the student had a hard time dealing with his stepbrothers, who were sports-minded and very unlike him.

“It became increasingly clear that he was looking at me as a kind of older brother or dad,” Stephens said, under questioning by his attorney, Paul James.

Stephens told the jury that he told the student during those drives that he could relate to what he was experiencing, telling the student that he had not been accepted by other guys growing up and became convinced as a young man that “I was probably gay.”

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal